Gender Differences in Career Persistence among Research and Development (R&D) Engineers in Japan

Sayaka K Shinohara, Tetsushi Fujimoto


Regardless of the pressing need to increase women in STEM fields education and occupations in Japan, little is known about issues those women would face. Career persistence among female professionals is one of the important issues. Using the recent national sample of Research and Development (R&D) engineers (3,425 men and 714 women), we address the following research questions: (1) Do women in R&D have lower level of intentions to persist in their engineering careers than their male counterparts? (2) Do the gender differences in family status, work interference with family life, professional role confidence, and intrinsic motivation for work explain why women are less likely to persist in engineering career? Results showed that women had significantly lower levels of intention to persist in their careers as engineers than men. Regression models indicated that women were still less likely than men to state an intention to persist in engineering even after controlling for factors including family status, work-life balance, professional role confidence, and intrinsic motivation for work. Thus, the gender difference in career persistence was not explained by those factors. Directions for future research are discussed.


gender; career persistence; STEM; engineers

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